Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Is Your Great Recession Over? The NBER Says It Ended in 2009

Updated March 7, 2015 –

In looking back, what a pleasant surprise it was to open my e-mail on Sept. 20, 2010. Among other sources of information, I subscribe to daily feeds of economic data from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

The Great Recession ended in June of 2009, according to the NBER’s eye-opening announcement: NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee Announces Trough Date

The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee announced on September 20 that the U.S. economy reached a trough in June 2009, making the 18-month recession that began in December 2007 the longest in the post-war period. Further details are provided in the committee’s announcement.

“Trough is right!” Not to criticize the NBER, but that was my reaction. I had similar thoughts and reactions, and wrote similar comments in news media articles years before. Then, the NBER was slow to acknowledge the recession but too quick to call it over. But the NBER is comprised of bright academics who aren’t competing in the real business world.

Moreover, I complained then about the inability of Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve to see what was really going on at the Main Street level.

Years later, the majority of 1,300 global CEOs aren’t confident about economic conditions.

Dennis Nally, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd., reveals the results of PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey from the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switerland in 2015.

See Mr. Nally’s presentation:

Getting back to the U.S. economy, the economy still feels worse – really worse. The unemployment rate is 5.5 percent — down from a 9.6 percent unemployment in 2010 – when 15 million were jobless.

But there are now 23 million unemployed or under-employed, wages are still flat, home values are down while foreclosures and bankruptcies are continuing. The continuing U.S economic forecasts aren’t great.

On March 3, 2015, Peter Morici, Ph.D. — an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, national columnist and five-time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award — wrote:

Many of the health insurance plans Americans could afford through the federal exchange have deductibles and copays so high as to render them useless.

In the 28 states that have adopted ACA extensions of Medicaid, many able bodied men are jobless and not seeking employment in part because that program gives them free health insurance.

Millions of men between the ages of 25 and 65 are on the sidelines, collecting other government largess, not paying taxes and imposing enormous costs on the economy.

How does the NBER evaluate the economy? It examines the levels of the gross domestic product of the value of goods and services, wages, employment rates, and manufacturing. The NBER is an organization of economic academics. It’s headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.

The NBER officially declared the recession started in Dec. 2007. Again, not to be a cynic, the effects of the downturn were being felt months before the NBER’s proclamation.

After the historically high four consecutive quarters of economic contraction, the nation’s economy ostensibly started a comeback from July to Sept. in 2009. That’s the reason for the NBER announcement. That’s also why the NBER indicates any further declines would count as a new recession.

This sour economy is the worst in decades, and it feels it. I’ve worked through five downturns since the early 1970s.

The nation endured the Great Depression for the longest period of time – starting in 1929 for 43 months. But a recession reared its ugly head again in late 1936.

And today, the bailouts, healthcare law, and financial regulatory reform have done little to solve the catalysts for the Great Recession:

  • Predatory behavior by credit card companies
  • Wall Street chicanery
  • Mortgage morass
  • Trade deficit
  • Offshoring of jobs
  • Poor public policy at every level

Our Great Recession might be history, but the negative effects linger. Hang in there, and keep on truckin’. I will. That includes reading the daily economic feeds from the NBER. But I’ll continue to closely monitor the trials, tribulations and successes of Main Street business to provide proven solutions for maximum profits. Hope to see you here often.

From the Coach’s Corner, In addition to the business-coaching columns ranging from marketing to finance, I invite you to visit these sections:

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
-Will Rogers

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.